Agbor M A, Nchifor A M, Sonkeng T E, Naidoo S F, Songo B, Pilipili C M



People with disabilities often need extra help to achieve and maintain good health, with oral health care not being an exception. Most African countries are not materially equipped and privileged to provide accessible oral health services to its people talk less of providing oral health care to the disables. The aim of the current study was to determine the oral hygiene status and practice of children with disabilities in some centers for people with disabilities in Bafoussam, Cameroon.


This was a cross-sectional descriptive study on schoolchildren from 2 private rehabilitation centres and adults that took place between January to March 2019 in Bafoussam the regional headquarters of the Western Region of Cameroon. The study was carried out using structured questionnaires and clinical examinations.

A total of 180 children participated in this study, 102 (57%) were females and 77 (43%) were males. More than half 90 (50.3%) of the participant had total hearing loss, 50 (27.9%) were totally blind, 30 (16.8) were partially blind and the rest 9 (5%) had partial hearing loss. One third 56(31.3%) of the participants were within the 5-10 years age group and 105(58.7%) of the children carried out tooth brushing themselves, 160(89.2%) brush their teeth everyday while 19(10.8%) were not consistent with their brushing, 102(57%) of the participants brush their teeth once a day while 70(39%) of the participants brush their teeth twice a day. Three quarters of the participants 133 (74.7%) brush their teeth in the morning before breakfast and  45 (25.3%) brush their teeth in the morning after breakfast. Three quarters 132(73%) of the participants brush their teeth on their own while 48(27%) of the participants were assisted when brushing. Half of the children 107(57.6%) were assisted by their teachers, 36.2% were assisted by their relations while 6.4% were assisted by their friends. More than a third 81 (45%) oral health problems interfered with their eating habits, while for 41 (22.8%) interfered with their sleep pattern, 15 (8.3%) of the respondents reported that these problems decreased their ability to study and 2 (1.1%) interfered with their ability to smile or their self-confidence.Two thirds 108( 60%) of the participants had never been to a dentist, 34(19%) had visited a dentist once, while 23(13%) had visited a dentist twice and 14(8%) had visited a dentist more than twice. Half of the children 107(57.6%) were assisted by their teachers, 36.2% by their relations while 6.4% were assisted by their friends during brushing. Half 101(56%) of the participants had poor oral hygiene, 45(25%) good oral hygiene and 34(19%) was very good. Three quarters 127(77.3%) of the participants had dental caries, 77(44%) missing teeth 18(11%) filled teeth and by other pathologies 9(5.3%).

A third 59(33%) of the participants needed dental fillings, 59(33%) scaling and polishing, 32(18%) tooth extraction, 14(8%) needed RCT and orthodontic treatments each.


The prevalence of dental caries was high and majorities of the participants in the study were in need of specific dental care. The oral health status of the deaf and dumb affected their quality of life.Good oral hygiene practices are not respected among respondents. Manual dexterity was not a major problem in the blind and deaf.


The funders of these schools should invite the dentists and the dental therapists to provide dental education to the parents and care givers of blind and deaf children concerning the importance of the preventive approach and regular dental checkup in the dental clinic.

The government should establish relevant oral health promotion and treatment programs for patients with special needs . More attention has to be directed by the oral health authorities to establish school- based dental care programs especially for high risk patients.

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